Duterte gets rock-star treatment with 8,000-plus crowd
Thousands of Filipinos in S'pore welcome Duterte. Queues began as early as 11am for the 6pm event to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday. When he arrived, the 8,000-plus crowd clambered up chairs and chanted his name.
More than 8,000 Filipinos turned up at the Max Pavilion at Singapore Expo yesterday to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and their affection for him was evident.
Mr Duterte, 71, met members of the Filipino community at the session organised by the Philippine embassy.
The queue for the 6pm event started as early as 11am, with some carrying banners as a tribute to Mr Duterte, who is on a two-day visit here.
One of them was Miss Mercy Cagula Ruiz, 41, a domestic helper who has been working here for 18 years.
Miss Ruiz, who has a 20-year-old son in the Philippines, got a day off to attend the event. The message on her banner read: "We love you and support you Tatay Digong".
"Tatay" means father in Tagalog, and "Digong" is Mr Duterte's nickname.
She told The New Paper: "He's like a father to our nation. He's helped a lot in our country, and so much has improved. I feel secure and don't have to worry about my son now."
Her last visit to the Philippines was in May, after Mr Duterte won the election.
"There's more police patrolling, and he reduced corruption, rape and drugs. I really admire Singapore, and I wish one day Philippines will be like Singapore. Mr Duterte can help take us there," she said.
Miss Jenny Fe Delacruz, 41, who has been working here as a saleswoman for nine years, carried a sign that said "We (heart) U Tatay".
She said when she went back to the Philippines last month, she saw a huge difference.
"We feel so safe, the places with drugs are no more. The Wi-Fi connection is also better, the toilets cleaner, and people queue up now," she said.
In his speech here, Mr Duterte, defended his war against drugs.
"My campaign against drugs will not stop until the end of my term... until the last pusher and last drug lord (is killed)," he said.